Occohannock on the Bay's History
Occohannock on the Bay became this Holy Ground in 1958. 50 acres of woodlands, open spaces, and waterfront purchased by the Eastern Shore District United Methodist Church, along the Occohannock and Tawes creeks. The first structure, the picnic shelter, was built in 1960, the rest is history. OOTB like most of the 450 United Methodist camps in the U.S., has become an aging facility, requiring refurbishing, and improvements.
December 9, 1958: A deed was recorded for the purchase of the James A. Bane property by the Eastern Shore District of the United Methodist Church. The property consists of 50 acres and was purchased for $28,000.
January 10, 1959: Meeting of the first development group for Camp Occohannock.
June 1959: First Campers at Camp Occohannock
June 1960: Open House at which time there were two lodges and a picnic pavilion
1961: Construction of a shower house and two more lodges.
1962: Lynch building was built which serves as the main meeting area
1968: Some small boats purchased
1981-82: A Norfolk architect toured Camp Occohannock with representatives from camp and a long-range general plan for the camp was developed.
1982: The District Conference passed a resolution effective
1984: That the District would go forth on faith to raise a minimum of $3.00 per member for each year of a three year period for the development of Camp Occohannock.
1988: Four new cabins were built surrounding a new bath house.
1989: Occohannock on the Bay owed Crestar Bank $180,000. A five year fundraising campaign was started which resulted in raising over $200K for the camp.
April 1994: A note-burning ceremony was held at the camp to celebrate the retirement of our camp indebtedness with Crestar Bank
January 1996: "A Vision Shared", the Long-Range Plan concept, was endorsed by the Occohannock on the Bay General Board and the District Conference. Since that time, plans for the Cokesbury Worship Center have been drawn up and presented. There are other projects to be considered as part of Phase I of the Long-Range Plan.
1999: Four addtional cabins were built by volunteer mission teams from Eastern Shore District churches; Epworth UMC, Painter Garrison UMC and Franktown UMC, Christ/Charity UMC from the Norfolk District.and youth from the Portsmouth District.
2002: A screen porch and modern handicapped accessible rest rooms were added to the Lynch Building (Dining Hall).
2004: A children's playground was added by Matthew Tyson, Troop 313, as part of his fulfillment as an Eagle Scout.
2005: An Archery Range was build by Michael Evans, Troop 313, as part of his fullfillment as an Eagle Scout.
A 24'x24' boat shed was built by Portsmouth District Youth Mission Team
2006: The boat shed was partially closed in, and the Salt Box (boating gear shed) was attached and doubled in size to 8'x24'
2007: A Whale Watch was added to the Low Ropes Course by Will Deuter, Troop 300, as part of his fulfillment as an Eagle Scout
A 30 foot Rock Climbing Wall was added to the Ropes Course; making this our first High Ropes Element. The wall was built by Will Tyson, Troop 313, as part of his fulfillment as an Eagle Scout
A 225 foot dock replacement was completed; extending an additional 45 foot channel-ward.
"The Annex" (converted garage attached to the camp director's residence) was adopted by Main Street UMC, UMM, Sufolk, VA. Renovations included replacement windows, painting, new trim, and tile floor. It is now know as "The Prayer Chapel".
Craddockville UMC, UMM, adopted cabin 3, to care for it's maintenance needs and the electric bill.
2008: The UMM of Christ UMC, Norfolk District adopted cabin 6 which was built and funded by Christ UMC and Charity UMC of Nofolk.
2009: The dedication of the Cokesbury Worship Center
2013: The Chesapeake Foundation and the Nature Conservancy planted marsh grasses, trees, bushes, and a 3 water rock walls to preserve our shoreline.
Cabin 1: renovated by the Market Street UMC Men's Group.
Cabin 10: renovated by Main Street Emporia UMC Youth Mission Team
Cabin 3: renovated by Craddockville UMC Men's Group.
Cabin 4: renovated by the Eastern Shore Rotary Clubs.
Bathhouse B and C: renovated by individual supporters, churches, United Way, and the Eastern Shore Community Foundation.
Berea Family Picnic Shelter founded by Berea UMC